The City of Happy Valley works closely with North Clackamas School District (NCSD) through a partnership that extends beyond the classroom. By joining forces, the City aims to support education and offer experiences that bolster learning and help connect the community. In many ways, these opportunities augment classroom instruction and provide a way for youth to deepen their understanding of issues at both the local and national level. By further extending the partnership to include Happy Valley Parks and Recreation, Happy Valley Youth Council, and the Happy Valley Police Department, the relationship between NCSD and the City remains strong, ultimately benefitting all students and their families.
Learn more about the ways the City of Happy Valley and NCSD works together.
2nd Grade City Hall Tours
With curriculum focusing on community helpers and what makes a city run, second graders from NCSD typically spend an entire unit learning about what makes a community tick. Many classrooms work together to build a makeshift city of their own and students learn about the role of city leaders and some of the collective needs of a community. To reinforce these concepts, the City of Happy Valley invites second-grade classes from the local Happy Valley elementary schools take a tour of City Hall. Students walk through the different departments where they learn about their functions.
After touring the building, students proceed to Council Chambers where the class is offered an opportunity to participate in a mock City Council Meeting. The audience acts as citizens and direct questions to a handful of their peers who play the roles of Mayor and Council members. Students are encouraged to think critically about a proposed addition to the City (usually a park or other amenity) and are given some points to consider when it comes to cost and location. The exercise offers students a way to experience, at a basic level, how government operates.
Throughout the year, designated staff from the City’s Community Services team volunteer their time to offer structured curriculum to elementary students from kindergarten through 4th grade. Lessons focus on fundamental concepts related to financial literacy as well as the role of business and jobs within a community. Classes, which can be tailored weekly or full day depending on grade level, give students a way to better understand not only the basics of government and the economy, but an opportunity to imagine potential careers and educational goals that speak to their interests.
Valentine’s Day Cards for Seniors
This relatively new activity coordinated together by Happy Valley Parks and Recreation and Happy Valley Library invites members of the community to create Valentine’s Day cards for those in our senior population who may be homebound or residing in one of Happy Valley’s assisted living facilities. To extend our reach, the Parks and Recreation team has specifically partnered with Happy Valley elementary schools to encourage students to get involved. The activity not only gives students an opportunity to make art, but it encourages the practice of reading and writing, and thinking about others who may require additional support. The activity often spurs conversation about community responsibility and offers teachers a tangible way to illustrate kindness on a broader level.
The City of Happy Valley: Past and Present
Fifth graders in Happy Valley are often learning about civics and the basics of American history. As a supplemental resource, the City offers a chance for a representative to teach a lesson about the history of Happy Valley. The lesson, which can be tailored to fit any grade level, examines the first emigrants from the 1848 Oregon Trail settling in the Willamette Valley, Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 and the first settlers in the Valley in 1851. Students gain insight into the City’s landmark year of 1965 when Happy Valley became an official City and includes an understanding of its evolution and future potential for growth.
If I Were Mayor contest
The Oregon Mayors Association (OMA) “If I were Mayor” contest is an annual event the City of Happy Valley embraces as tradition. In this contest, students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to share their creative ideas about how they would govern the City of Happy Valley and local winners are submitted to a statewide competition.
At its core, “If I Were Mayor” gives students the opportunity to take a closer look at their community and share their thoughts about safety, the environment, health, social services, youth programs and anything else they think is vital to the City. Depending on grade level, students are asked to create a poster, essay, or digital media presentation which are displayed at City Hall. Engaging in this activity is a great way to stay connected to learning and spark some creativity. Submissions are typically accepted in early spring with winners announced in May. Local winners are recognized at a formal City Council meeting and awarded a certificate of achievement.
As part of ongoing efforts to build relationship and discuss relevant happenings, the City has made it a priority to gather every few months during the school year to check in with local principals and share information. The idea is that through these meetings, both entities can help support one another and find ways to work efficiently and in the best interest of the City’s students. Topics discussed include school related traffic and safety concerns, various resources available, upcoming events, and ways to engage youth at a local level. Representatives from law enforcement, the Happy Valley Library, Parks and Recreation, and Clackamas Fire are also in attendance. Any principal from a nearby school that serves multiple students from the City is invited and encouraged to attend.
These ongoing meetings offer opportunities for collaboration, brainstorming, and open discussion. With a bustling community comprised of families, both the City and principals are committed to continuing to work together.
The Happy Valley Youth Council is an advisory board serving as teen advocates in their community. Youth Councilors collaborate on ideas and information and look to the City Council for mentorship and assistance. The Youth Council encourages community members to join their events and attend their monthly council meetings. Working closely with the area’s high schools, the City of Happy Valley has been able to work collaboratively with high school principals, school administration, and even representative at the district level. These relationships have fostered many opportunities to delve deeper into issues and concerns on top of mind of teens.
Happy Valley’s Youth Council began in 2010, when the City embarked on a mission to involve local high school students in a forum where they could exchange diverse opinions on matters of importance to their peer group in a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere. Professionally moderated, the first Youth Town Hall captured big ideas and enthusiasm, and a follow-up work session led to the groundwork of the City’s first Youth Council. Student leaders from local high schools were selected to work under the guidance of city government representatives, to give teens a voice and a stake in their Happy Valley community.
This advisory board of teen advocates consists of members who must be of high school age and reside in the City of Happy Valley. Vacancies on the panel are filled by the election of new members as voted on by the sitting Youth Council. Youth Councilors collaborate on ideas and goals to enhance their community and look to the city’s elected leaders such as the Mayor and City Council, for mentorship and assistance. Monthly council meetings are held to attend to the business of organizing Youth Council events and planning their service and participation in other community events sponsored by the City.
Ongoing community goals include drug and alcohol abuse awareness through the annual Rx Drug Turn-in Days and mental health awareness that includes an Anti-Bullying campaign with its cornerstone Bully Block Day event. To identify other current teen issues, they continue with the founding activity of a yearly Youth Town Hall where they work with other local teens to develop new ideas for projects to enhance their community. The Teen Driver Safety Event is one more annual event that has come from the workings of the Youth Council. Here, teens can experience first-hand how quickly distracted driving could have devastating consequences. Using driving simulators and impairment goggles, and hard-hitting testimonials from nurses and others affected by distracted driving, students who attend the event have their eyes opened to the realities of distracted driving.
Rx Drug Take Back: The Happy Valley Youth Council annually organizes Rx Drug Turn-In events as part of its commitment to the well-being of the community. At these events, residents are provided a safe way to dispose of their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, which may be expired or simply no longer needed. In 2022, nearly 200 lbs. of drugs were collected at one event alone. Safe disposal efforts, such as these no questions asked turn in events, protects our water supply, and keeps drugs out of the hands of unauthorized and recreational users. A permanent drop-box is located at the Happy Valley Police Department for safe disposal of unwanted or expired prescriptions and medications. Supporting the efforts of Youth Council in this endeavor are the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Happy Valley Police Department, and the City’s Happy Valley Community Service Officers. We also recognize Rx Drug Turn In event sponsor, Providence Health & Services, for their continued support of the Happy Valley Youth Council and their commitment to encouraging a safer community for all.
Youth Town Hall
Planned and sponsored by the Happy Valley Youth Council (HVYC) advisory board, the Youth Town Hall gives teens the opportunity to collaborate with peers and work with various leaders in the community.
This annual event brings together high school students across Clackamas County with community decision makers that include school educators, civic and business leaders, public and social service agencies, law enforcement, and elected officials. Youth and adults exchange ideas and propose viable solutions for issues facing the youth. The Happy Valley Youth Council will report and share the Youth Town Hall outcome, presenting to the Happy Valley City Council for possible action or policy changes. The report is then intended to be disseminated throughout our community and presented to various boards and commissions in efforts to enact change. In recent years, the Youth Town Hall has expanded to cover more pressing topics being tackled at the state and national levels. In 2022, the City partnered with NCSD and law enforcement specifically to bring awareness to school safety. By bringing youth directly into the conversation, a positive relationship between teens and leaders is fostered. High school students are given a safe and structured opportunity to express their ideas and concerns with the guidance and mentorship of established role models.
The decision to create an Oregon Youth Summit originated in 2017 when students from Happy Valley’s Youth Council attended the National League of Cities (NLC) conference in Washington D.C. Connections the students made at the national level were great, but Happy Valley’s Youth Council advisors realized the importance of bringing all of Oregon’s youth councilors together to get involved at the state level. It was at that point when Happy Valley’s Youth Council advisors and teens developed the Youth Summit concept and organized the event to take place in the state’s Capitol. Youth Councils from cities throughout the state are invited to participate, with extended invitations given to school administrators, City leaders, and other high-ranking positions. Even the Oregon Governor has participated.
Topics vary from year to year and are often based on issues facing youth at the present. Panels and work groups have explored the increased need for mental health resources, protecting the environment, and even shared ways their own groups have spearheaded a new program. A moderator is typically selected to guide the summit’s events, but it is the students who arrange and present in a forum that is truly youth centric.
In partnership with elementary school parent organizations and associations, the City has made an effort to help support programs and events. Activities are typically rooted in fundraising or are educational in nature, but in all cases, the purpose is 100% for the benefit of students and families. Having a strong relationship with parent led groups not only leads to stronger support for students, but it gives PTO’s and PTA’s the chance to extend their reach and maximize their own resources. Whether it’s the Parks and Recreation team providing lawn games, a movie screen, or even a mobile stage, the opportunities are endless when it comes to helping create events that bring the school community together. The City also takes a significant role in helping support logistics efforts at the Happy Valley Fun Run and will donate meaningful experiences to be auctioned at a school’s annual gala. When combined, these offerings not only lead to more revenue, but they serve as another way to shed light on the City’s community impact.
Happy Valley staff will occasionally visit classrooms to present information that is topical and relevant to student studies. These visits typically help augment a lesson about community helpers or add to a school event like Career Day. Many of our local schools also plan outdoor trips to Happy Valley Park. This could be to illustrate a lesson being learned in the classroom related to science or plant life, or even something as simple as an end of year party. To help facilitate a gathering that is productive and efficient, the City’s Parks and Recreation team can support school staff in setting up a park reservation at no cost.
The topic of safety is an important one and it is a subject that is at the heart of many City/School conversations.
Getting to and from school: The Happy Valley Police Department has been making school zone safety a priority with increased patrols during peak traffic times – namely school drop off and pickup. Traffic flow is understandably impeded during these times, as is parking and general safety concerns related to visibility as students, parents, teachers, and drivers are coming and going in mass numbers. The City’s public safety team, engineering department, and public works staff have dedicated many hours performing onsite evaluations and mitigating safety concerns. The police department has ultimately been a key player in helping the City, school staff, and residents attempt to problem-solve issues, and has worked in tandem with the City, including the City’s Traffic and Public Safety Committee, to partner with schools every step of the way. This work has culminated in outcomes as simple as minor changes to traffic flow to the installation of permanent traffic signs and lighting.
Crosswalks and school zones: Highlighting Happy Valley’s Elementary PTO’s initiative to increase student safety, the City and Happy Valley Police have joined forces to further encourage both drivers and pedestrians to take an active role in establishing safe habits and routines when using the roads. With a focus on crosswalk safety, efforts on behalf of the City have extended to sharing information related to the effects of distracted driving and speed, as well as tips and best practices when it comes to parking lot safety, and visibility. Formal crosswalk warning events have served to raise awareness of the importance of crosswalk safety and remind drivers that they must stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian when the pedestrian is crossing. Exercises such as these are often made possible by grant funding issued by Oregon Impact. Data collected can be extremely beneficial and support ongoing training and public education efforts nationwide. The City also contributes to these efforts through educational messaging dispersed through social media and the community newspaper, HV News. Learn more about these efforts here.
Walk & Roll to School: Happy Valley Parks and Recreation is always proud to support local schools. Along with City representatives, the team participates in Happy Valley Elementary’s bi-annual Walk and Roll to School events. This event is all about having fun while learning about the importance of crosswalk safety, keeping distractions to a minimum, and practicing safe habits when getting to and from school. The event culminates with students walking from Happy Valley Park to school as one big group where deputies from the Happy Valley Police Department help greet incoming students. By partnering together for something like this, the hope is to generate valuable conversations amongst community members that ultimately decrease accidents and injuries and ensure healthy and safe behaviors.
Traffic and Public Safety Committee: While the Traffic and Public Safety Committee (TPSC) meetings are open to the public and cover a variety of topics, they are another opportunity for addressing school safety concerns. It’s important to note that the City can’t problem-solve issues on NCSD property, but it can evaluate requests related to traffic as it pertains to City streets. This might be an issue related to speed, sign visibility, or a request to add a traffic device of some kind. Residents are always encouraged to bring their concerns to TPSC and while approval for a request may not always be granted, there will always be informed discussion and an attempt to collaboratively problem-solve an issue at hand.
School Resource Officer: Through the City’s contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and funding from the City’s Public Safety Levy, schools in Happy Valley have the support of a designated School Resource Officer (SRO). This person works in tandem with educational staff to maximize efforts related to promoting safety at school, with preventative measures taking top priority. The main difference separating an SRO from other police deputies is that they have special training on how to work with youth. Their focus is often on issues related to things like cyber safety, violence prevention, conflict mediation, and helping connect students who may be struggling behaviorally at school with vital resources. As an additional set of eyes and ears, the SRO plays an important role in supporting safety efforts and creating an environment that encourages positive relationships between law enforcement and those the SRO serves. Because this person is in the schools every day, they are familiar with the daily happenings and students know who they are. As a result, he is part of the educational culture and seen as a dependable confidant.
Car Care Clinic
Presented by Happy Valley Parks and Recreation, the City’s Car Care Clinic invites all residents to learn the basics of automobile safety and maintenance. With this said, the event truly focuses on teen drivers who may have little to no experience when it comes to understanding the nuts and bolts of a vehicle. With experts from Les Schwab Tire Centers, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Happy Valley Police Department, and volunteers from Sabin-Schellenberg Center, this event gives participants a chance to take their own vehicles thru multiple educational stations in the City Hall parking lot. Teens learn about everything from tires and fluid checks to lights and road safety. Promoted heavily to the area’s high schools, the event serves as a helpful resource.
Equipment and technology: The City of Happy Valley provides annually, a designated $50K grant to NCSD’s Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center. With this money, the school can purchase equipment for its programs that serve students throughout the District in grades 9 through 12. At Sabin-Schellenberg, students to explore career fields of interest to them, often gaining hands-on experience in areas ranging from agriculture, cosmetology, information technology, manufacturing/engineering, and even automotive study. The funds provided by the City help support student interests and aim to motivate them to continue their love of learning.
Access to Parks & Recreation: With the help of Happy Valley Parks and Recreation Foundation, the City is able to work directly with local schools to help connect students with recreational opportunities. By working with school principals, Happy Valley students who may otherwise not have access to programming are identified more readily and supported in the application process. The Foundation can award scholarships to those in need and reduce financial barriers that may pose a challenge.